RATTAN’S RUMBLE: Alberta’s NDP government does the right thing by hiking minimum wage. B.C. must have highest minimum wage in Canada!

Rachel Notley
Rachel Notley

THE NDP government won a spectacular victory in Alberta in May and the headline of my story at the time – “NDP’s stunning victory a slap in the face for greedy business establishment; shakes up Canadian politics” – said it all.

I wrote: “NDP Leader Rachel Notley said she would raise Alberta’s corporate tax rate to 12 per cent from 10 per cent, she would not waste her time pushing the giant Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast, that the Keystone XL pipeline had become a strictly U.S. domestic issue, and she would review energy royalties.

“As the Toronto Star noted: “Notley, in essence, said Albertans knew better and she dismissed the self-serving shots across the bow from the province’s well-heeled and coddled business community.””

That “well-heeled and coddled business community” was howling this week when Premier Notley pressed ahead with plans to increase her province’s minimum wage to $15/hr by 2018.

The usual string of shameless, self-serving statements by businesses and the organizations representing their interests followed, trying to scare people into believing that the whole world was about to collapse. We heard that same b.s. here in B.C. when Premier Christy Clark hiked the minimum wage in stages.

I was truly impressed by a female business owner who told a TV reporter that she would have to pass on some costs to customers but she was happy that the minimum wage was being hiked for her workers.

We al know that the gap between the rich and the rest of us has been increasing relentlessly as most politicians are in the pockets of the greedy, corrupt businessmen who have been ruining the environment and cheating the common man with all kinds of cunning deals.

Frustration is growing all across North America and I only hope it doesn’t lead to violence sooner or later. Once that violence erupts, it will be set an irreversible trend. You will have people targeting businessmen and politicians and their families.

On October 1, Alberta’s minimum wage of $10.20/hr (the lowest in Canada along with that of Saskatchewan) will go up to $11.20/hr – the second highest among our provinces. The Northwest Territories’ minimum wage is $12.50/hr. Ontario’s current minimum wage of $11/hr will rise to $11.25/hr in October.

B.C.’s current minimum wage of $10.25/hr will increase to $10.45/hr in September. British Columbians must start demanding that the minimum wage be the HIGHEST in Canada and set an example for the rest of the country – and to hell with greedy corporations and businessmen whose top guys take away MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in just bonuses and other benefits!

In spite of all the immoral pressure that Alberta businessmen tried to put on the government, Alberta’s Labour Minister Lori Sigurdson made it clear that the Province would implement their plan to hike the minimum wage to $15/hr by 2018.

British Columbia MUST do the same; indeed, we MUST have a HIGHER minimum wage than Alberta’s.

If the federal NDP ends up forming the next government in Ottawa (even if it`s in a coalition of sorts with the federal Liberals), the NDP in B.C. is bound to get a tremendous boost – strong enough to overcome the fears of timid British Columbians about what an NDP government might do to the economy (the strategy by which the B.C. Liberals have kept winning elections here and rewarding their rich pals in corporations and businesses beyond all reasonable limits).

I still remember a dialogue from a historical Korean drama in which the old king was advising his grandson, who was to be the next ruler, not to forget about the poor. He said that for a river to flow forward, the water must cover both the low and the high parts of the river bed.

We are NOT talking about communism here – we are talking about COMMON DECENCY to look after all our citizens and NOT look down on anyone.